Saturday, October 23, 2010

‘The Real Princess Diaries’ Are Really, Really FAKE

I’d heard the rumors about “her” blog ever since I’d begun my own: Fake, fraud, liar and worse, so I decided never to mention “The Real Princess Diaries.”

Turns out, the naysayers were right on target. Sadly, readers of Diaries (of which there were more than 2 million!) were deliberately victimized by its author who masqueraded as a working female escort, but is in reality a nondescript male government employee.

The author had claimed to be the sexy, 24-year-old “Alexa Di Carlo” who plied her trade in San Francisco where “she” to support herself while she attended grad school. Yesterday, “she” was unmasked as Thomas "Pat" Bohannan, who works for a government agency in Delaware. [See Above Photo.]

The persona of Alexa DiCarlo (aka AlexaRPD, aka Caitlain of 'Caitlain’s Corner'), was allegedly that of an on-line sex worker/escort who wrote explicitly about “her” experiences and struggles.

By lying and posing as a sex worker, Bohannan insulted all readers, but especially those who do make their living in the sex industry, and most especially women. He created then hid behind a character – a sexy woman – that would entice and even arouse readers. He also pretended to be a knowledgeable sex educator, who frequently gave advise to readers in that guise.

This is NOT an issue of privacy as Bohannan asserts, but rather of intellectual and literary fraud perpetrated perhaps for monetary gain, but certainly for ego enhancement and aggrandizement, and maybe for some hidden personal sexual agenda. One can only imagine that Bohannan patted himself on the back quite a lot during the past two years for so thoroughly duping his readers – but not most sex workers, as they were the ones who often challenged the blog’s authenticity. It seems clear that his worst derision was directed at women. I can only hope that Bohannan is no longer amused.

HUGE kudos to the website Expose A Bro for meticulously tearing apart the cover and uncovering Bohannan’s ugly secret, thus ending years of increasing speculation. (I have included their wonderful blog post below in its entirety, or read it on its website.)

Bohannan’s response was immediate and predictable – he pulled the plug, posting the following where his scamming blog had been, while refusing to accept any responsibility for his actions:

The Real Princess Diaries
“The Real Princess Diaries is offline.

RPD will not be back..

Unfortunately, the actions of a few selfish people have put innocent lives and peoples' privacy in jeopardy (including that of even my hosting service provider), so it is best for everyone that RPD goes away. Many thanks to those of you who read me for the past couple of years.”

When Diaries launched, Bohannan gave the following description of HIS blog:

“This is the story of a new modern courtesan, or, as most of the world knows her, an escort, or professional companion. You can follow me as I spend two years working as an escort to pay my way through graduate school, pursuing a degree in Human Sexuality Studies,” by AlexaD

Bohannan declared that the site was, The Diary of a Modern Courtesan, Alexa; which would provide, “Information for Clients, Finding a Provider, Client Etiquette, Escort Terminology.”

It wasn’t long before the blog generated a steady stream of on-line readers. “Alexa” posted about her sexual experiences as an escort, and expressed opinions about sex workers along the way.

“I've only had one client who's read my blog that I am aware of,” Bohannan as Alexa wrote at one point.

On July 18 of this year, “Alexa” posted:

The Resume of Alexa

“Age: 24. Race: White. Eyes: Ice Blue. Hair: Brunette. Height: 5'5”. Weight: 120lbs. 34C-25-35. Fort Lauderdale, Florida 954-555-6969. PROFILE Outgoing female with exceptional sexual skills seeks employment as itinerant girlfriend, companion, and/or sexual partner for individuals or groups with impeccable taste. EXPERIENCE Whore May, 2008 – Current San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, & Other Cities Provide professional companion & escort services to individuals, couples, and groups Service.”

On Aug. 11, 2010, an excited Bohannan boasted:

“The Real Princess Diaries reached another milestone today its 2-millionth visitor. And while some web sites get that many visitors in a single day, the overwhelming majority of personal blogs never see that many visitors throughout their entire existence.”

He even acknowledged that there were rumors about the veracity of the posts, writing on Aug. 29, 2010:

Treat Me Like a Dirty Little Whore

“As you might imagine, I get a ton of e-mails regarding the material I post here on RPD (as well as my Twitter and Tumblrs, but that's neither here nor there). It ranges the gamut from people accusing me of being a guy, to people seeking advice on how to do some of the things...”

~~~~~

So, without further ado, here is the REAL truth about the UNreal Princess Diaries:

Expose A Bro

“That's right, folks: there is no Santa Claus, and there is no Alexa di Carlo. Take a good hard look at the face of Thomas "Pat" Bohannan, the man who spends his time sitting at a government computer job pretending to be a sexy twentysomething escort/nymphomaniac in San Francisco. Not quite the high-class drop-dead gorgeous call girl you expected, is he? (After all, the sexy photos he had used to represent in for "Alexa" were long ago confirmed as having been stolen from a well-known cam model. Oopsie!)

"Alexa" has been thoroughly and publicly exposed as a fraud for almost a year now, but some people just refuse to believe it. They so badly want the lousy erotica written by their slutty dreamgirl to be real. They need to believe they haven't been jerking off to the pathetically transparent fantasies of a male computer nerd who wishes he could be attractive and interesting.

How did Thomas fuck up and let his big secret slip?

Firstly, in the process of researching Alexa, it was found that Thomas accidentally registered one of the domain names associated with "her" sites in his own name. Oopsie! (This information has since been removed.)

From there, it was just a matter of googling the guy. The second big mistake Thomas made was that he purchased four very telling books from Amazon the day after "Alexa's" main domain, www.RealPrincessDiaries.com, was purchased. You can see his reading list live on Amazon's site here (until he removes it), or here's the screen grab:

[Above: Is the Amazon Wish List screen capture, as Bohannan did indeed delete it!]

Hmmm, I wonder why a man who works in emergency management suddenly decided that he needed to know how to be a female escort? He made sure to give the books a good review on his blog, though. Oopsie!

None of the IP addresses used by "Alexa" pointed back to San Francisco, where "she" claimed to be enrolled in grad school. Her IPs came from the Delaware/greater Philadelphia area.

Thomas "Pat" Bohannan is employed (last time we checked) at a computer job at the Delaware Emergency Management Agency (DEMA), which is Delaware's version of FEMA. Thomas has the ideal career for being able to sit on his ass all day tweeting incessantly as "Alexa." Yup, not only is Thomas wasting any old employer's time and money, he's actually on the government's payroll. (Thomas might even be the man behind DEMA's twitter account, an account which follows other emergency management accounts, area government officials, as well as, for some reason, "Alexa's" favorite vacation spot, @YellowstoneNPS and @ystoneinsider.) Why not tweet him a friendly hello @DelawareEMA?

"The Real Princess Diaries": Your tax dollars work!

Before Thomas became "Alexa," he was engaging in questionable online interactions with minors via his teen sex education site, "Caitlin's Corner."...He founded his own teen sex education site after getting banned from the forums on both Student.com (where he was apparently known as "Agent 69") and Scarleteen.com (where he went by "Caitlin"). "Alexa" wrote in an entry on Real Princess Diaries (which has since been deleted) in December 2009 that "she" did, in fact maintain Caitlin's Corner. The site was listed on the Real Princess Diaries blogroll under, "Learn How to Fuck"– which is his idea of an age-appropriate way to title a sexuality resource for (as "Caitlin's" Myspace page refers to "her" target audience) "pre-teens, adolescents and young adults." It was around this time that the first incarnation of "Alexa" was born on a stripper blog called Sensual Exhibitionist... Thomas's penchant for underage sexuality is extra disturbing when you consider that when he lived in Tennessee, he volunteered to work with and shoot photos of high schoolers.

Why expose Thomas now? Because every few months, there's going to be a new "Alexa" scandal in the blogsphere that everyone is going to waste a lot of time and energy fighting and gossiping about. Good riddance to Thomas "Pat" Bohannan. Let this finally be the end of this embarrassing skidmark across our culture.

Thomas isn't just harmlessly getting his kicks maintaining an anonymous blog where he can live out fantasies of being a desirable woman. He knowingly spreads lies about sex work, advocates unsafe sexual practices, seeks to have sexually-inappropriate online interactions with underage youth, all the while passing himself off as an academic who is trained in human sexuality...He uses bold-faced lies about his qualifications to try and discredit real sexuality activists, and laughs at their setbacks. He has bullied at least one activist by harassing her via email, and he gleefully celebrated the demise of a valued sex workers rights publication, $pread Magazine. He purposefully misleads and misinforms his audience about important sexuality issues.

Exposing him isn't about violating his right to privacy, it's about cleansing a divisive and potentially dangerous fraud from our midst. He is an irritating scourge in the least, and predatory/dangerously irresponsible at worst, and some of us felt an ethical obligation to set the record straight. It's about self-defense.

This post is anti-copyright, feel free to reproduce and re-post this information wherever you see fit."

~~~~~~~~~~~

I have decided to post the following from Diaries in its entirety. I am doing this because I believe it’s important to read this with a newly critical eye, to see how easily anyone can be duped by an unscrupulous blogger. It is also an incredibly damning post given the actual, potenially dangerous truth about “Alexa.”

Prostitution as Profession
by The Real Princess Diaries


May 2010

“Classic Darwinian theory posits that the female of most mammalian species trade sexual fidelity for various things the male can offer: protection, status, meat, and so on. So, if we accept the basic assumptions of sexual selection theory, aren’t pretty much ALL female mammals prostitutes?

As I’m sure you know, there are a great many terms used to describe sex workers: whore, hooker, streetwalker, provider, escort, courtesan, etc. Many of them tend to be used as pejoratives, of course. I am a bit partial to the word courtesan, but I also use the term professional companion to describe what I do. I provide much more than just a quick fuck to my clients. Still, at its core, it is professional sex.

Is paid sex work a “professional service”, though? Or, restated, is prostitution a “profession?”

You will occasionally encounter philosophical arguments about whether sex work is even work, let alone something that could be considered professional. Without exception, those who make such arguments have never done it (the same is true for porn work, btw). In my mind, anything you do for pay is, by any reasonable definition, work in an employment sense, whether you enjoy it or not, whether you do it occasionally for free or not, or whether it involves the use of your mind or body or some combination thereof. And anyone who’s ever sold sex will tell you that it is, without a doubt, work. That’s the end of that discussion.

A Profession?
Is it a profession, though? If you accept the definition offered by Paulette Beat Songue, as simply “work someone does as the means to derive an existence,” then clearly anyone doing any kind of sex work for pay is a professional. Similarly, according to Random House Dictionary, the definition of a profession could be as simple as “any vocation or business.” Both of those reflect a terribly liberal interpretation of the word by most standards and aren’t really much help for our purposes here. We need something with a little more depth to it to provide a template against which to measure the relative professionalism of the prostitute’s trade.

According to one political science theory, a profession is a disciplined group of individuals who adhere to ethical standards and uphold themselves to and are accepted by the public as possessing specialized knowledge and skills in a widely recognized body of learning derived from research, education, and training at a high level, and who are prepared to exercise this knowledge and these skills in the interest of or service to others.

It’d be hard to fit prostitution (or many other jobs) neatly into that kind of construct, for a variety of reasons. Does the public “accept” prostitutes as possessing specialized knowledge and skills? Those who know what prostitutes do, beyond what the mainstream media portrays (save for perhaps CNBC), understand that prostitutes are usually very skilled at their craft. They have to be to make the most efficient use of their time. Some aren’t, of course, but they usually don’t last long in the business. At least, not at the middle and higher ends of the spectrum.

Level of Service
Typically one expects a professional service to be performed at a higher caliber than what you might expect from an amateur. I’ve had clients tell me I’m the best fuck they’ve ever had or that I do an excellent job of melding the physical and personality skills they like in a prostitute. If you read the review boards, many clients compliment providers on their sexual talents and/or interpersonal skills. The fact of the matter is that, if you’re not good at what you do in this business, you’ll generally have trouble attracting clients, especially those who’ll request your services again (and those are the bread and butter of the ability to make a decent living at this).

Obviously, in the grand scheme of things, some professionals are better than others. This is true with lawyers, doctors, police officers, accountants, electricians, etc. So it would stand to reason that the same is true for professional sex workers as well. Some are better than others – the hobbyists will tell you that in a heartbeat. But since the quality of service in this business is almost purely subjective in nature, one client’s poor service experience may be another’s high quality one.

The services of some are worth more than the services of others because of differing skill levels. Similarly, the more expansive the repertoire of services (physical or otherwise) you offer as a professional, the more you should expect to be compensated.

Suffice it to say, however, that most clients typically expect a prostitute to offer a wide range of sexual experiences and to do them well; they expect a professional level service because they are paying a (relatively) hefty fee for it. Perhaps the fees charged might be indicative of the level of professionalism?

Choice
According to the incredibly mis-named organization Concerned Women For America (CWFA), “…prostitution is often referred to as the “world’s oldest profession.” This phrase implies that people, women especially, willingly choose to be prostitutes. People usually choose professions to further their ambitions or use their aptitudes and gifts. Prostitution is not a profession.”

The implication is, of course, that women never choose to be prostitutes and by virtue of that fact, it can’t be a profession. Ignoring the incredible lapse of logic there, the myth that women don’t choose to be prostitutes has been contradicted over and over and over again by women who’ve written extensively about their choice to do exactly that. Air Force AmyW, Brooke Taylor, Amanda Brooks, Tracy QuanW, Norma Jean Almodovar – all of them chose specifically to become prostitutes, for a variety of reasons. Tracy knew at 10 she wanted to be a prostitute, and Amanda decided in her teens that she wanted to do the work. Norma Jean had a nice job as a police officer before she quit to become a prostitute and has written and spoken extensively about why she made that choice. History is replete with examples of women who not only made a conscious choice to engage in prostitution, but did so quite readily and made quite a successful living with it.

Ambitions
Do the women choose the work to further their ambitions? What are the ambitions of most people who engage in a profession? Any profession?

For most people, chief among their ambitions are to have a home, pay the bills, raise a family and care for their children, and to save some money. Some workers might have additional ambitions of starting a new business or adventure, traveling, or perhaps building a brand new home of some type. All of this is true for a great many prostitutes, including all of the women listed above. Tracy Quan and Veronica Monet both used money they saved working as prostitutes to start their own empires. For many, especially those who work the streets, I’d argue one of their driving ambitions is often hanging on to their homes or providing for their children. Of course, those ambitions aren’t what the not-really-concerned about all women of America mean when they refer to “ambition,” are they?

Anti-prostitution activists will make the assertion that women turn to prostitution only because of financial need. I have to laugh when I read that statement since the overwhelming majority of people do the work they do simply to make money and wouldn’t be doing it if they didn’t have to to earn a living. They also make claims about the number of women who’d leave the profession if they could. Aspasia has a rather cogent post on her blog about a study showing that more than half the members of one profession would leave it if they could. You know what it was? The medical profession. Does that mean that they aren’t professionals since the majority of them wish to leave? No one would make such a ridiculous claim about them, of course. But it’s okay to make that stretch for sex work, curiously.

Aspirations
Some would argue that, in order for it to be considered a profession, it would need to be the type of work that one would aspire to do for a significant majority of his/her lifetime. I am inclined to disagree with this since many people move in and out of different jobs and professions throughout the course of their lives.

Back in the day, people, men especially, would have one job most of their lives. Nowadays, of course, people jump from job to job almost as often as they change automobiles. Writers become educators, educators become police officers, police officers become lawyers, stockbrokers and hedge fund managers become janitors, and so forth. Some prostitutes go on to become writers, some go on to become educators, some go on to become attorneys. I know of one woman who worked as a prostitute and is now an executive vice president of a Fortune 100 corporation. The U. S. Bureau of Labor Statistics tells us that the average worker these days will hold about eleven different jobs from age 18 through 42 alone. The concept of holding one job throughout most of your adult life as a rule died some years ago, and therefore employment longevity cannot be used as a measuring stick for professionalism.

The number of women who pay their way through college through prostitution (and stripping) would astound the average person, I can assure you. It is far more prevalent than even many sociologists realize. Most make it through college quietly and go onto other things, just as the vast majority of people who hold other types of jobs during college will do.

Do people aspire to become prostitutes? Tracy Quan would answer in the affirmative. So, even using CWFA’s twisted application of logic, it is plain to see that prostitution can even fit into their mold of what constitutes a profession.

Education and Training
What about receiving training at a high level? That’s a tough one. In fact, it is not uncommon at all for prostitutes to have advanced degrees, especially at the high end. Most don’t have any specific training , of course. Well, unless you count on-the-job training, or training gained through experience. Sex is one job where you can arrange your own training, by and large. At least, from a physical standpoint. The rest of it often takes some tutelage.

The truth is, however, that there is currently no formalized training for prostitutes. Or for anyone else who wishes to better themselves in the bedroom, for that matter. There are a handful of small, unique (and typically itinerant) places where people can avail themselves of specialized sexual training, but those are relatively few and far between.

There are some books that offer advice to prostitutes on how to work in this business, including two good ones by Amanda Brooks (soon to be four, I believe), and books on business management tailored specifically to escorts by J. D. Roberts, and Kay Good. There are also a handful of sites on the Internet and the occasional DVD that provide some guidance to people seeking to better themselves and improve their sexual skill sets as well. But they’d have to go other places to get training in marketing skills, personal safety, etc.

Aspasia and I have kind of batted around the idea about creating a school or university for whores (or, as she puts it, a Whoreiversity). We’d teach subjects such as dealing with legal issues, financial management, client relations, marketing, safe sex practices, personal and client safety, and of course a wide variety of sexual techniques among other things. All of these are matters that professional prostitutes have to deal with in one form or another if they wish to be successful.

It would be interesting to build a curriculum and a series of classes for this line of work. In fact, in my post about decriminalization, I made the point that prostitutes should be required to maintain their education with respect to the work – sort of a continuing education kind of thing, not unlike many other, well, professions. At any rate, as it stands right now, there are no legitimate schools or educational paths for hookers. Yet.

So, Is It or Not?
If truth be known, most prostitutes could care less whether anyone else considers it a profession or not. They do it to make the money they need to live on, and will move on to some other line of work if and when a decent opportunity presents itself, just like everyone else. And, just as an athlete will use his/her body, physical talents and skills to earn their living, so, too, will the prostitute. The fact that their work involves a vagina (or a penis, in the case of male sex workers) doesn’t negate its professionalism in any way.

For some women, however, prostitution is indeed a profession. There are a considerable number of women who make an incredible living as professional companions; it is their sole means of income. Some of them make well into six figures a year. The majority don’t, of course. They’ll work until they get arrested, find something else to do, or just get tired of the work. You don’t hear much about them unless they do get arrested, or one of their clients gets arrested. Sadly, that’s a side effect of the legal status of the work.

I choose to approach the work in a professional manner. How do I quantify that?

My web sites are professionally done and present me in a professional light
The way I approach and deal with my clients is very professional
I responsibly manage the money I make from the work I do
I represent the profession well (in my opinion)
I strive to better myself at what I do, through education and experiential learning
I maintain a strong sense of personal and professional ethics as it relates to the work
I strive to deliver a high quality of service to my clients (I even offer a 100% satisfaction money-back guarantee, something that is very rare in the industry)

I think that approach embodies the entire concept of professionalism. And, while I only intend to be doing this for another 18 months or so, I want to be the best that I can be; I want to leave a positive footprint on the world of prostitution and on my clients.

So, basically, it boils down to individual attitude. Some prostitutes choose to approach the job as a profession, others not so much. I think that is the ultimate arbiter of whether it is or is not a profession.”

— The Curator

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